Australia will stick to its lockdown strategy against the coronavirus until at least 70% of its population is fully vaccinated, but after that it will have to start living with the virus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The country set a record with 914 infections, its highest daily figure, as the southern and eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory remain under a strict lockdown.
"You can't live with lockdowns forever and at some point, you need to make that gear change, and that is done at 70%," Morrison said in a television interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corp's Insider program.
Lockdowns are a key element of the federal government's strategy to rein in outbreaks until the 70% percent level is reached, with borders being reopened gradually when the figure climbs to 80%.
This follows hundreds of arrests made by police on Saturday during anti-lockdown demonstrations in Sydney and Melbourne, the capitals of the two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, which are under a strict lockdown.
Just about 30% of Australians older than 16 have been fully vaccinated, health ministry data showed on Saturday. This is mainly because the Pfizer vaccine is in short supply and the AstraZeneca vaccine provokes public unease.